©2008 American Tapestry Alliance
Fall 2008 Vol 34 No 3
A Quarterly Review of Tapestry Art Today
Note: Tapestry Topics Online has been trimmed down in order to present color images with selected excerpts from the printed version, available to members by mail. For the full articles refer to the printed Fall 2008 issue. < Back     Page > 1 2 3 4 5 6 7

Thinking Small
By Mary Lane, Guest Editor

… For contemporary small format tapestry weavers it might be the ultimate irony that the enormous tapestries of medieval Europe were, in most cases, based on the very small, highly detailed and often fanciful illustrations of illuminated manuscripts. … Miniatures are not a large image shrunk small.  Small-scale work requires a special sensitivity, a fundamental shift in thinking about space and scale. … A heartfelt thanks to all of the authors in this issue of Tapestry Topics.  I hope you enjoy their unique insights. May they inspire you to explore small format tapestry.

By Susan Martin Maffei

What historical tapestries might fit [the small format] definition? Coptic tapestry is certainly well represented by small images woven into large garments. … Silk tapestry, kesi, a new luxury art of 12th century China was used to make wrappers for precious scrolls. … Does the very small general make-up of the repetitive patterning in [Andean historical tapestry] classify them as small format?

Hanging with heads of Dionysian group, Textiles of Late Antiquity, Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY, 1995, pgs.20 & 47
All-T’oqapu tunic, Andean Art at Dumbarton Oaks, volume 2, Elizabeth Hill Boone, Editor, Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and Collection, Washington, D.C., 1996 Pgs 457-465
Admonitions scroll cover, First Masterpiece of Chinese Painting, The Admonitions Scroll, Shane McCausland, George Braziller, Publishers, NY, 2003, chapter 4, pg. 93-95 and pg.120
Still Life, Autumn, European Post-Medieval Tapestries and Related Hangings in The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Edith Appleton Standen, volume II, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY 1985 pg. 608, catalogue # 89

… Over the years I have woven many small format works. Some represented the exploration of ideas and the development of skills as I evolved a particular way of working freely on the loom with little help from preparatory drawings.  Most have been conceived as complete compositions, not samples.  My work tends to be narrative and for me small format means miniature in terms of the mark making, and in most instances, a finer warp sett and finer wefts.

below: Susan Martin Maffei, In the Woods in Inwood,  12" x 65"

below: Susan Martin Maffei, detail of In the Woods in Inwood,  12" x 65"

below: Susan Martin Maffei, Sport Series - Putting Green, 7" x 8"

below: Susan Martin Maffei, The Dance, 33" x 9"

below: Susan Martin Maffei, Travel Series IV,  30" x 24" mounted

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